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A Russian Journal (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)

A Russian Journal (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) [Kindle Edition]

John Steinbeck , Susan Shillinglaw , Robert Capa
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Steinbeck and Capa’s account of their journey through Cold War Russia is a classic piece of reportage and travel writing.

Just after the Iron Curtain fell on Eastern Europe, Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck and acclaimed war photographer Robert Capa ventured into the Soviet Union to report for the New York Herald Tribune. This rare opportunity took the famous travelers not only to Moscow and Stalingrad – now Volgograd – but through the countryside of the Ukraine and the Caucasus. Hailed by the New York Times as "superb" when it first appeared in 1948, A Russian Journal is the distillation of their journey and remains a remarkable memoir and unique historical document.

What they saw and movingly recorded in words and on film was what Steinbeck called "the great other side there … the private life of the Russian people." Unlike other Western reporting about Russia at the time, A Russian Journal is free of ideological obsessions. Rather, Steinbeck and Capa recorded the grim realities of factory workers, government clerks, and peasants, as they emerged from the rubble of World War II—represented here in Capa’s stirring photographs alongside Steinbeck’s masterful prose. Through it all, we are given intimate glimpses of two artists at the height of their powers, answering their need to document human struggle. This edition features an introduction by Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw.


Describes the experiences of the author and photographer when, after the war, they traveled through the countryside visiting villages, factories, and farms.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5106 KB
  • Print Length: 244 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 014118633X
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic (1 Dec 1999)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001RIO2XA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #182,640 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

John Steinbeck is perhaps best known for Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, which led to his Nobel Prize for Literature award in 1962. Born in Salinas, California in 1902, Steinbeck grew up in a fertile agricultural valley about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast: both valley and coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a labourer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929). After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933) and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938).

Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey's paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California labouring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939).

Being partly based on his own experiences as a travelling worker, Steinbeck originally wanted Of Mice and Men to be titled 'Something That Happened'. The book explores themes of powerlessness, loneliness and empathy and received the greatest positive critical response of any of his works up to that point. It has achieved success as a novel, a Broadway play and three acclaimed films.

Steinbeck's compassionate depiction of the poor in The Grapes of Wrath helped the book become an immediate publishing phenomenon, discussed on a national scale and becoming an instant bestseller. The book was described by the Nobel Prize committee as a "great work" and stated that it was one of the main reasons for granting Steinbeck the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942). Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright (1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952)East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family's history.

The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include: Sweet Thursday (1954)The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966) and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969),Viva Zapata! (1975,The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).

He died in 1968, having won a Nobel Prize in 1962.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
As the Cold War was begginning, John Steinbeck and Robert Capa had the idea to go to Russia and see what it was really like. This book is the account of their travel. But it has so much in it - fun, beauty, tragedy, hope, and the sense of bureaucracy - that you'll not only remember it: you'll want to pack your suitcase and go there immediatelly to find out if it still is like that!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Steinbeck and Capa in the land of Soviets 8 April 2009
When I found out that Steinbeck has written a travel book about Soviet Union I was intrigued. The famous Capa was there too. So I had to read it. The Cold War atmosphere is ever there at the beginning, so much so that the great Steinbeck had to start by saying that he would not judge or make any comments about the Soviet Union, he would just report what he sees or hears. So he did candidly. They travelled through the Soviet lands just after the devastation of the Second World War. The reader can enjoy their travels to Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad, Kiev and Tbilisi. Steinbeck is a fantastic storyteller and he has lots of stories to tell about the life of ordinary Soviet people. The fotographs of the great Capa also speak more than words. The ordinary life of the Soviet people is shown in great detail as in the book one can find scenes from a circus, a policewoman guiding the traffic, the runined city center of Stalingrad and the peasant kolhoz worker girls dancing among themselves after hours of harvest work. We can also learn about the personal interactions between Steinbeck and Capa as they share the same experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but a bit filmsy 23 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book itself is good and the photographs were done very well, but the book printing and the book itself felt rather flimsy
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is such a great insight into Russian Life 5 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a great book. The journey to Russia gave the reader such an insight into life in Russia in the 50's
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book 4 April 2013
By kaze
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book, but I expected a bit nicer look. Altogether I was happy with this purchase, I definetely recommend it.
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